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Is this only a test?

Updated: May 28, 2020

Needless to say, I never thought my first RentLab blog post would be in the middle of a global pandemic.

But it’s hard to imagine a situation that could better drive home the need for resiliency, social equity, stewardship of resources, and awareness of our constraints than what is happening right now. And those are all the core philosophies that drive what sustainability professionals have been saying for years.

So now. A slap in the face.

What’s the difference between the effects of a global pandemic and any number of social, economic, or environmental crises, like extreme weather, disruptions in food supplies, mass migrations, crumbling infrastructure? The triggers might be different, but the concerns and impacts on human beings can be remarkably, disturbingly similar.

So how do we draw lessons from the biggest disruption to normal life that most of us have ever experienced?

The answer to that question is evolving almost daily, as the level of disruption, and our ability to adapt and learn and evolve still remains to be seen. But what if on the other side of this is a world that treats its most vulnerable beings – people, animals, ecosystems – with dignity and care and stewardship? A system of government and infrastructure based on fairness and justice and health and well-being? An economy measured not in dollars but in outcomes for a healthy, thriving planet and its inhabitants? Communities based on collaboration and inclusion and on thriving within our means?

The silver lining of the current crisis, if we come out okay on the other side, could be that this is our fire drill. Our test to get ready for even bigger challenges coming our way, and to imagine what society should have looked like from the beginning.


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